Quest Shaman is far and away the most popular deck on the Standard ladder. It’s typically included in most Grandmasters lineups as well. The deck has to play differently depending on what it is matched up against. At its core it is a deck that wants to play cards on curve and then look for tempo swings and damage after completing the quest.
The core 25 cards of this deck are pretty universal. However, the remaining slots can be whatever you need depending on the meta. Lifedrinker is necessary for damage and life gain, Weaponized Wasp is necessary for damage anywhere and Sandstorm Elemental is necessary for removal.
Of course Mogu Fleshshaper and Mutate are essential pieces to the majority of Shaman decks right now. Its ability to cheat out an eight mana minion so early in the game can win on its own.
The remaining slots are usually any variation of Witchwood Piper, Plague of Murlocs, Former Champ, Giggling Inventor, Earth Shock, Spellward Jeweler, Siamat and The Storm Bringer.
Piper is great additional card draw which can help find more draw when you are low on cards. Plague of Murlocs and Earth Shock can be used to help with Combo Priest or other large minions, as well as turn a board of tokens into something a little better.
Giggling Inventor is better against aggro decks, and Former Champ is better against slower decks. The Storm Bringer has a nice chance to high roll opponents like Quest Druid. Spellward Jeweler is mostly a Grandmasters tech card for a deck like OTK Paladin.
Matchups and Mulligans
The best card to have in the opening hand is definitely Questing Explorer. It provides great tempo and makes up for the lost card playing the Quest on turn one. Sludge Slurper is also decent to deal with aggressive decks, and EVIL Totem can be good on the coin.
Against Combo Priest and other aggressive decks there are cases where it can make sense to toss the Quest in the opening hand. Often times the game is decided before you get the upgraded hero power, so sacrificing the extra card can be detrimental.
Against tempo decks like the mirror match, being aggressive is key. Trying to develop the board with Former Champs and just keeping the opponent in a reactionary state will usually lead to a win.
Then lastly in control match ups you want lots of Battlecry minions and cycle cards. EVIL totem, Questing Explorer and Novice Engineer get you closer to completing the Quest and playing Shudderwock faster. Being able to be on the coin is great as well, as you can double up on Shudderwock’s Battlecry for lethal damage most of the time.
How to Play With or Against
Against aggro, you want to play a more control oriented style game plan. Weaponized Wasp is used to kill minions, and sometimes Mogu Fleshshaper can’t wait to be played with mutate. Also Sandstorm Elemental can help clean up some early board states.
Versus Control, Quest Shamans want to send all of there damage to the face. Trading is sub-optimal as you have ways to come back onto board with cards like Mind Control Tech. Weaponized Wasps and Kobold Lackeys should mostly be hitting the face. Bog Sloshers should be picking up these cards or Lifedrinker to increase the Shudderwock damage pool.
Versus Quest Shaman, you definitely want to be on somewhat of an aggressive game plan. You also have to be conscious of their defensive tools. If you can keep three threatening minions on the board, most Quest Shamans don’t have an answer. They might have to commit to a Plague of Murlocs if they are even running it.
Overall Quest Shaman is a relatively cheap deck to play, but its game play is not so straight forward. Sure playing the cards on curve can have some good results, but understanding its weak points and optimizing damage output can increase your win rate.
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment via their official website.